Coincidences in Huck Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a very enjoyable piece of American literature, which is famous for the unique realism it uses. Although the novel is intended to be realistic, there are some very unlikely coincidences within the story that become major parts of the plot.
A first coincidence in this novel would be early on in the book when Huckleberry Finn first meets up with Miss Watsons Jim while hiding on a deserted island. Both men came from the same small town where there is hardly any excitement, yet the reader is expected to believe that they both ran away at the exact same time and chose the exact same hideout. This seems very unlikely. Without these two events coinciding, however, the novel would be a rather dull one about a boy alone on a raft. So although it may not be entirely believable, Huck and Jims crossing paths early on proved to be an important devolvement in the novel.
The coincidences continue later on in the novel when Huck and Jim continuously get separated but manage to find their way back to each other. Multiple times, the two are seemingly torn apart for good only to bump back into each other in the next chapter. The first time this happens is in chapter XV when the duo loses each other in a bout of heavy fog. Huck describes the fog on page 81 by saying, I see the fog closing down, and it made me so sick and scared I couldnt budge for most a half a minute it seemed to me- and then there warnt no raft in sight; and you couldnt see twenty yards. For the next few hours, Huck floats along blindly with no sign of Jim. Hours later, however; Then I see another speck, and chased that; then another, and this time I was right. It was the raft. Huck says this after he had traveled for a good long time and even slept into the night. It is not plausible that the two would have been reunited after so long, but without it, the novel would have ended right there. This happens many more times, including when a steamboat hits the raft and when Huck takes up residence with Tom Sawyers Aunt Sally. Although these unlikely occurrences were very coincidental, they made the story go smoothly and added some entertainment to it as well.
The last and maybe largest coincidence takes place towards the end of the story when Huck runs into Tom Sawyers aunt and then Tom, himself. Out of all the houses in all the towns that Huck passed on his journey, the one he stops at supposedly belongs to the family of an old friend of his. In real life, the chances that this would actually happen are nearly nonexistent. As if that isnt enough already, Huck also happens to arrive right around the same time that Tom is scheduled to make a visit. In the story, even Huck cannot believe this. In fact, when he finds out that he is at Toms aunts house, he says, By jings, I most slumped through the floor! Like the other coincidences, this scenario was very improbable and not realistic at all but made for good story telling.
So in the end, whether it was Huck continuously bumping into Jim or the unlikely appearance of an old friend in the end of the novel, Mark Twain used coincidences a great deal to tie together important plot gaps in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and make it into a classic piece of American literature.